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J Lipid Res. 2003 Jan;44(1):22-32.

Microsomal triglyceride transfer protein and its role in apoB-lipoprotein assembly.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, 450 Clarkson Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11203, USA.


Apolipoprotein B (apoB) and microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP) are necessary for lipoprotein assembly. ApoB consists of five structural domains, betaalpha(1)-beta(1)-alpha(2)-beta(2)-alpha(3). We propose that MTP contains three structural motifs (N-terminal beta-barrel, central alpha-helix, and C-terminal lipid cavity) and three functional domains (lipid transfer, membrane associating, and apoB binding). MTP's lipid transfer activity is required for the assembly of lipoproteins. This activity renders nascent apoB secretion-competent and may be involved in the import of triglycerides into the lumen of endoplasmic reticulum. In addition, MTP binds to apoB with high affinity involving ionic interactions. MTP interacts at multiple sites in the N-terminal betaalpha(1) structural domain of apoB. A novel antagonist that inhibits apoB-MTP binding decreases apoB secretion. Furthermore, site-directed mutagenesis and deletion analyses that inhibit apoB-MTP binding decrease apoB secretion. Lipids modulate protein-protein interactions between apoB and MTP. Lipids associated with MTP increase apoB-MTP binding whereas lipids associated with apoB decrease this binding. Thus, specific antagonist, site-directed mutagenesis, deletion analyses, and modulation studies support the notion that apoB-MTP binding plays a role in lipoprotein biogenesis. However, specific steps in lipoprotein assembly that require apoB-MTP binding have not been identified. ApoB-MTP binding may be important for the prevention of degradation and lipidation of nascent apoB.

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